Three Years Old

Perfect Post Award – 0508

Dear Archer,

Three years ago, today, you happened, and then I happened and then we happened. I don't remember the precise moment I knew you were the one. Moments are left unattended, life shape-shifts. Children grow up. I read about our past and cannot believe I have so easily forgotten so much of where you came from. I have photos to remind me. And blog entries. And scraps of paper and ideas and memories and old things I can't believe you used to fit into. Old hats with snakes in them that you wore last summer, or was it the summer before?

Wait. It was last summer. Now I remember.

I don't know why it is so easy to forget. I'm pretty sure that if I didn't document every last detail of your life I would be mourning all the yesterdays: faded memories floating skyward like The Red Balloon, and you as a newborn, baby, toddler, hanging on by the string, waving at me with your fingers.

If I didn't have photographs of you in your red hat against the blue sky, I might not be able to remember how cherubic you looked that afternoon, pouting in the shade, under the sun, that thoughtful look you get when you're watching people and birds and the world.

You have become your own person this year. Or I suppose it's just that I know you differently now. The more you communicate and disagree and fight me and love me and hate me and break my heart. The more you trust me, believe me, kick me when I'm trying to tell you it's time to leave because we have to go home. How you talk to animals not with words but by singing to them. Humming songs in their ears softly, gently.

Most recently you have become attached to the moon. You search the sky with such concern. "Noon?" you say. "Where you go so fast, Noon?" And then you turn to me and point out the window and frown and I say... "The moon is sleeping, baby. Sometimes it sleeps in the afternoon. Maybe you should give sleep a try..."

But you stopped napping months ago. You only sleep when it's dark outside. And you fall asleep with your plastic lizard and your books and your music and the window drape cracked slightly so you can see the moon and I hear you say "nigh, nigh moon. night, nigh, zizard" before you fall asleep because sometimes I stand outside your door and spy on you. Sometimes I watch you sleep. Sometimes you catch me and sit up suddenly in the darkness, smile like a goose and then crash land into your pillow, pretending you are sleeping, making the fake-snoring sound with one-eye open and a cracked smile.

In the morning, you wake up calling my name, asking not for me but the moon.

"Mommy? Mommy? Where id it, Mommy? Where da noon?" you ask.

"I don't know."

Because I don't. I know nothing of moons and why sometimes they appear in the afternoon, linger in the mornings. In fact, one day you will find that I know very little. That I know nothing, really. And yet, now, when you're still small, I feel compelled to answer you. To make things up to make you happy. Give you answers. The ones you want to hear.

"The moon is going potty in the white bushes of the sky."

I don't know if this is the right approach. But I'm learning and trying and figuring it out as I go. Just as you are. With your speech and your songs and your life. And I still can't believe you exist. It's been three years and I guess I figured I would be used to you by now. But sometimes when I pick you up from school there is a moment, where I open the door and think "did I really have a child? Is he here? It wasn't just a very long dream?"

And then you appear with scrapes on your knees and a half-eaten sandwich in your lunchbox and a Ziploc bag of homemade Play-Doh and yes, there you are. I remember now.

You are growing up so fast I can't stand it. Needing haircuts often and demanding bandaids and kisses and growing more and more aware of your world.

Like when you point to my belly and say, "Hi, baby" before turning away scowling, changing your mind: "No baby! I am baby?"

"Yes. You are baby always."

Because you always will be. Even when you grow so tall I have to stand on my toes to kiss your face. You'll always be the reason for everything changing in the best way possible. You'll always be my first. My baby.

Thank you for reminding me that anything is possible. That the moon is something to befriend and the animals are things to sing to. That time is short and life is long and there are so many things to be grateful for.

Number one, being you.

(and your dad, who I also love, just in a very different way)

Happy 3rd Birthday, Archer Sagebrush, Pirate of the Snails.

Loving you like an insane person,


P.S. Here are some of my favorite shots of you from your first year. I dug these up the other day when I was weeping over your decision to grow up on me.

Misty watercolor memories, dude. Misty watercolor memories.



Anonymous | 2:36 AM

Beyond lovely: the boy and the letter. Makes me excited about the future.
Happy birthday Archer.

Anonymous | 5:02 AM

Yay Archer. Welcome to the age of pure wonderment.


Anonymous | 5:11 AM

happy new year, captain pirate.
this is the one, baby. 3 is the BEST! i love you lots and so do my people.

move here now. ooops, i mean, happy birthday.


metro mama | 5:57 AM

Happy birthday Archer!

Anonymous | 6:00 AM

I'm choking up reading this...
Happy Birthday Archer! :-)

Unknown | 6:02 AM

So great.
I seriously think it should be against the law for our little ones to grow up right in front of our eyes. And to be so sneaky about it.

Fraulein | 6:26 AM

YAY!! Happy birthday Archer! This will be one awesome year for him, and for all of you!

Maremone | 6:38 AM

Great. One day my kids are going to grow up and not only find I've blogged their every poop online, but another mom, a cooler mom wrote something so meaningful and loving to her son. I can hear the future grumbles...."And all I got was Happy Birthday son, you, um, changed me a lot"

Happy Birthday Archer!

Anonymous | 6:41 AM

Such a sweet mama!

Happy Birthday Archer....

barbara | 7:29 AM

happy birthday to archer! and happy birth day to you too.

Anonymous | 7:35 AM

Happy Birthday, Archer!

what a touching post. I may have to go digging for some of Gabe's old pictures. I love Archer's hats! He's so adorable!

The Mommy | 8:24 AM

So touching. I also have my number one - the one who made me "mommy." And now my number two just turned one and my world was turned upside down again in the last world and has made me a new me all over again. Happy Birthday Archer!

Marie-Ève | 9:15 AM

Wow, I'm speechless (which is a lot to say for me) and crying. Beautiful post. You've exactly hit the spot (how fast they grow and how bittersweet it is) where I just can't find my usual sarcasm and become this can't-control-myself-emotional-person. Happy birthday to your wonderful son.

Unknown | 9:43 AM

Our sons were born three days apart!

That was a nice post.

Anonymous | 9:44 AM

Aww, happy birthday! My son Sam (who just turned two) is quite taken with the photos of Archer. He pointed to him and babbled one of his long, complex sentences in Japanese or Portuguese or some other 'ese that I don't understand.

Maternal Mirth | 9:49 AM

And just when I thought Ol'Archer couldn't possibly get any cuter ... BAM! Cuteness explosion!

Mama Smurf | 9:56 AM

UGH! Now you've gone and made me cry!

Happy Birthday little guy!

Anonymous | 9:58 AM

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Happy birthday, Archer.

Anonymous | 10:43 AM

Happy Birthday to the handsome Archer. What a beautiful letter mama! I have written a letter to my kids on each of their birthdays so that they may have them when they're grown. Yours is wonderful and had me teary.

Anonymous | 11:18 AM

Beautiful. Mine just turned a year and I get so sad when I think that someday he won't let me kiss his toes and tickle him so that's he's in hysterics. I have to remember to write more down.

Happy Birthday Archer!

Robin | 12:05 PM

Dude, my babies are turning 12 and 10. Misty watercolor memories is right! Where's the time go?? They're all old and I've not aged a bit. How'd that happen??

Trysha | 1:04 PM

Happy Birthday Archer!!

I don't know if I could explain how watching your kids grow up any better than you just did. Thank your for your words.

caramama | 1:10 PM

Happy Birthday, Archer!

He is (and was) so very beautiful!

Anonymous | 2:43 PM

happy birthday archer!!!!! yay!!

Zeynep | 3:18 PM

Oh dear... Happy birthday!


This was so not the blog entry to read the first time my baby (well, he's 8 but you know, still my first baby) is away for the weekend - basketball camp!


Off to bed to snuggle with my other baby, then. They grow up too fast. My grandma always said, bringing up children is like digging a water well with a needle, enjoy the digging cuz the water will fill up in a second. Wise grandma.

Anonymous | 7:28 PM

That he calls the moon "noon" has got to be the most interesting non-mistakey mis-speak ever. It just tweaks my brain in an entertaining way...

And the photos of Archer are beautiful. Archer is an amazingly cute kid, but whoever is snapping those snapshots (you? hubby? both?) does a phenomenal job. They are stunning. The one where he looks like the most rockin' butterfly ever? Amazing.

Don't know how big of a Yo Gabba Gabba fan Archer is, but there was a brand-new episode today--my son would have been thrilled with such a coincidence on his birthday!

Hope it was a magical day!


Thank you all for your birthday wishes and I saw a new Yo Gabba taped on TIVO! Although, Archer has recently traded his love for Gabba for his obsession with Little Einsteins. Which makes me sad. Yo Gabba was way more fun to watch for me. Hee. And, aw, Zeyne! That's tough, mama. Can't even imagine. I'm going to suck at letting Archer go, I know it.


This makes me excited for the future and kind of sad at the same time.

Happy Birthday, Little Pirate!

kittenpie | 7:34 AM

Three is wonderful in what they can do and imagine, though in our house, it came with growing pains of defiance, too, as Pumpkinpie became more her. It does become so hard to remember something that changes and shifts so fast. I remember when Pumpkinpie was tiny, thinking that she'd never grow as big as those toddlers in the park and now, thinking that she was never so small as those babies, surely. Was she? They are a wonder, our children, and it's bittersweet, thier growing. At once fascinating and heart-melting and pride-making, and yet saddening and causing maudlin, wistful moments.

PunditMom | 6:29 PM

Happy b-day, Archer. Rebecca, I love and envy your magical way with words.

Lindsay | 9:41 PM

If I were lactating I'd be weeping through my breasts. Whatever that means. Happy Birthday Archer.
I know it's beyond cliche how fast they grow. Ugh. So nicely written.

Julie Marsh | 9:56 PM

Happy birthday, Archer! Three rocks.

(Pictures are amazing, especially b/w - wow.)

BabyonBored | 7:38 AM

As I said on your other blog, this was seriously a home run. Beautiful. Sob sob...he's gorgeous and so are you!

Anonymous | 8:04 AM

Love the tribute! Beautiful and very touching. Enjoy 3!

Anonymous | 2:52 PM

Happy Birthday, Precious Archer!!!! You are so incredibly beautiful. I like to watch the journey. My little love just turned 5. Every year is a gift and joy.

clueless but hopeful mama | 10:07 PM

Oh my god the pictures! You can see his whole 3 year old face in even the tiniest baby photos.

And oh my god the words he's saying! How amazing after the concern and the silence and the gibberish and now to hear such amazing thoughts from him. He just may have a knack for words, like his mother.

Happy birthday Archer!


It's amazing how fast his speech has picked up. It's actually shocking. He talks to me now and I just shake my head like, what the hell is going on here? It's such a strange, amazing new world I'm living in. Really awesome. And thank you all for your greetings!

Keri | 5:49 AM

Happy 3rd Birthday, Archer! You are just as adorable now as you were when you were a wee babe. I look forward to seeing you become a big brother! =D

pamela | 7:10 PM

happy birthday to archer! wow! i'm totally in tears right now and looking across the room at my 3 day old daughter. i just want you to know that i found your blog the day i found out i was pregnant and i felt so much better about becoming a parent. i find it really ironic that my little girl was born on archer's birthday and just want to say thanks for all your amazing blogs. it has seriously made being pregnant more fun and less scary for me.

Rachael | 9:58 PM

It's good that I can still see how adorably cute Archer is through my tears right now. Happy Birthday Archer!

Mozi Esme | 6:12 AM

Happy birthday to a great little kid!

Binky | 6:32 AM

Happy birthday, Archer and happy anniversary to you as his mom. Here's to a year filled with milestones recorded in words and photos. It's so true--we just can't depend on memory.

Anonymous | 8:08 AM

What a cutie pie! Don't be surprised if the toilet training takes a nosedive when the new baby arrives. All my plans to have a "big boy" who was no longer in diapers and who loved to help Mommy like a responsible citizen were shattered with the arrival of my daughter. He turned up his nose at the Spongebob Squarepants briefs and instead of speaking in beautifully articulated sentences all we could get out of him for about two weeks was, "ba ba goo goo. Me a baby. Me drink bottle." Talk about the green-eyed monster. Now they're partners in crime.

Heza Hekele | 9:53 AM

I remember the shell shock I felt when my Pumpkin turned three... He turned six last just never ends!

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels | 12:52 PM

wow, 3 years old! Happy Birthday Archer! And Happy delivery anniversary Rebecca! :-)

Anonymous | 1:21 PM

Happy birthday Archer! My son just turned 5 yesterday. These birthdays are mind blowing. I'm proud, a little sad, totally celebrating, absolutely in denial... its a total mind "F". Hope he had a happy one!

motherbumper | 7:10 PM

I'm always late but somehow not fashionable - Happy Happy Happy Birthday Archer.

mo-wo | 10:36 PM

Wow. He sure does love you so entirely.

Wow. What a post.

Happy Birthday, Archer. Sweets.

Anonymous | 10:37 PM

Happy Birthday lil dude!

Love that photo of him in the argyle hat!

Debbie | 11:06 PM

tell me i'll survive the fact of three.

b/c right now? it feels like - i won't?


but - your Archer, oh, Rebecca, wow.

like the corners of my fucking mind.

Manager Mom | 3:46 AM

What a beautiful love letter to your son!

Anonymous | 6:23 AM

Sweet pictures - he's so cute.

Kyla | 11:13 AM

Gorgeous. Happy 3rd, little man.

Anonymous | 12:47 PM

I have a 4-year-old. I also write to her and can't believe how she's decided to grow up on me. Your letter is so beautiful, I got teary.

I'm friends with RKB and will meet you at BEA, I hope.